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The Heat is On!
I keep watch on the bonsai world through friends, newsletters, blogs and Facebook. This month’s Bonsai Banter has some important information gleaned from these sources. Let’s start with a few heat relief tips for your bonsai.
“Recently here in S. Indiana we have been experiencing severe heat and drought. Our trees are suffering. With this in mind, I just tried a new experiment and thought I would pass on my results. I have started covering my pots that sit in hot direct sun with heavy wet bath towels …
Pots covered with towel at 9:30 a.m. and watered heavily. Temperature checked at 2:00 p.m. in full sun, no shade or shade cloth.
Pot in direct sun soil temperature 112 degrees.
Pot in full sun with wet towel covering pot - soil temperature 95 degrees.
After watering at 2:00 pm all soil temperatures of covered pots dropped below 90 degrees. (Soil temperatures were checked with a meat thermometer.)”
- Dave Bogan - Indianna, USA
“You may want to try cutting 1/2 Styrofoam pieces that cover the pot on the sunny side, shim them up with a few rocks (or pieces of foam) and cut the trunk area out.
(Do not use the insulation styrofoam that has the foil on one side.)
A larger rock on top holds them down.
The soil temps will be what the temps are in the shade ... monitor them on windy days, but the blue Styrofoam does absorb and reflect the heat.
They must be up enough for air circulation and can be easily removed for thorough watering.”
- Kenny Popp, Louisville, KY, USA
“Here, we’ve been using boards slanted on the pot to the south… ”
- Pauline Muth, upstate New York, USA
Yes! You may find some of your bonsai trees wilt in the heat. Before you water, check the soil moisture. You may be surprised.
Many years ago I noticed this dormancy period in my legume and buttonwood bonsai. The trees had seemingly just shut down! They “pouted” and even shed a few leaves. Another symptom was little to no new growth.
Summer dormancy is a temporary inactive phase caused by chemical changes within the plant cells. This growth arrestment is caused by high temperatures.
During this period, allow your bonsai to rest. They have stored up enough nutrition to sustain themselves. Do not try to wake them up with fertilizer.
Don’t overwater. Before you water, make sure they need it.
If you water with a hose, remember if it's in the sun, the water is HOT!
Too Much Rain?
Currently, Florida is having normal high temperatures, however, we did have a unique tropical storm. The rain from Debby lasted for days.
When there are many days of excessive rain (no matter where you live) consider the following tips.
“If you are using a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote, your trees are pretty much being fed the whole time it is raining, and they will love it. Steady days of rain deplete slow release fertilizer before its allotted time, such as if you are using a 3-4 month you might only get 2-3 months, and 8-9 month maybe only 6-7 months.
Steady days of rain also wash out all of the organic and inorganic fertilizer, so you might have to adjust your fertilizing schedule for that. I keep a rain journal to help me know if I need to re-apply any sooner.
If your tree is not reacting to the fertilizer and has some yellowing of the leaves with darker veins, your soil is probably low on magnesium. This is pretty common with all the watering they receive now. Mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt in a gallon of water, and water them as you normally would. ”
- David Buskirk, Central Florida, USA
Despite what many people think, the temperatures in Florida rarely go to 100 – even in South Florida. High temps during the summer average in the lower 90s statewide.
By now, many of you have seen the results of the fabulous show presented by Bill Valavanis in Rochester, NY.
Some of the Best Bonsai in the U.S.!
248 bonsai trees from 30 states and Puerto Rico!
Visit it again here:
2012 US National Exhibit in Rochester, NY
Many people have asked me about my web site and how I learned to do it. My answer was usually ... "It wasn't easy!"
Good News About Building a Website
Now the SiteBuildIt program I use has been totally renovated and it is easy!
I just built a new page today, it is truly a fill-in-the-blanks and drag-and-drop system. Amazing difference! A much faster learning curve. Sure wish I had it a couple of years ago.
Check it out here:
Block Builder 2
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Until Next Month
Wear sunscreen and drink lots of water!
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